pak’s-nft-artwork-‘the-merge’-sells-for-$91.8-million-–-barron’s

Digital artist Pak’s work, The Merge, fetched US$91.8 million on Nifty Gateway.


Courtesy of Nifty Gateway

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Digital artist
Pak’s
newest creation, The Merge, has fetched US$91.8 million on Nifty Gateway, with 28,983 collectors snapping up 312,686 total units of mass, or otherwise known as a nonfungible token (NFT).

The price was a record for an artwork sold publicly by a living artist, according to Nifty Gateway, a leading NFT marketplace. 

“This is an incredible moment for NFTs with one of the top digital artists setting this record at Art Basel,”
Duncan Cock Foster,
co-founder of Nifty Gateway, said in a news release. “This is further validation for NFTs as a medium of art and innovation that could only be integrated through blockchain technology.”   

However, the claim is debatable, depending on whether The Merge is ultimately considered to be a single piece or a series of artworks.

The auction record for a single artwork sold publicly by a living artist is US$91.1 million, set by
Jeff Koons’s
1986 sculpture Rabbit in 2019. 

The Merge was sold in an open edition (the opposite of limited edition) from last Thursday through Saturday. Buyers could purchase any number of tokens starting with a unit price of US$575, which increased by US$25 every six hours. By the end, the tokens sold for a total of US$91.8 million. 

The more mass buyers accumulated, the bigger their mass got. They received their final NFT on Monday, Nifty Gateway said. 

Pak, a pseudonymous artist (or artist collective), has been in the forefront of digital art and crypto media for more than 20 years, best known for creating Archillect, an AI built to discover and share stimulating visual media.

Earlier this year, Sotheby’s and Nifty Gateway sold Pak’s The Fungible Collection, also in an open edition, for US$16.8 million.

Previously, the highest price achieved by a digital artwork was Everydays: The First 5000 Days by
Mike Winkelmann,
professionally known as Beeple. It fetched US$69.3 million at a Christie’s online auction in March.